Robbie Neilson pinpoints the issue which cost Hearts against Rangers

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was left lamenting his team’s finishing after the 2-0 defeat by Rangers at Tynecastle Park.

Sunday, 12th December 2021, 2:59 pm
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson during Rangers' 2-0 win at Tynecastle.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson during Rangers' 2-0 win at Tynecastle.

Early goals by Alfredo Morelos and Joe Aribo left the hosts with a mountainous task to get back into the match. Despite creating numerous clear scoring chances in both halves, they could not find a way past the visiting goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

“I’m disappointed and more frustrated. We had chances to score goals and potentially go and win the game. Two very good finishes makes it difficult for us,” admitted Neilson.

“If we take our chances at the start then it’s a different game. That was the difference between the two teams. Even when we went 2-0 down in the first half, I thought we still controlled the game.

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“Rangers had two shots on target in the first half and we had several. It was that final moment we didn’t take. It shows where we are as a team. Over the course of the game, we had more possession and more shots on target. We just didn’t have that final moment.

“We had good chances in the second half, we hit the bar twice, potential penalties, blah, blah. But the difference is you need to put the ball in the net.

“We need to get to that level. At times we are controlling the game now. A lot of teams will play against Rangers and Celtic, camp in, hope for the best and maybe hit them on a sucker-punch.

“We feel we can control them. I thought we controlled them in this game but we just didn’t take our moments when they came.”

Both Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor and his Hearts counterpart Craig Gordon made several impressive saves. “I thought he [McGregor] was really good today,” said Neilson.

“We had chances where we probably shouldn’t have given him the opportunity to make the save. Our downfall was down to us because we had chances to score and win the game.

“There are some positives to take from it. We can control games and create chances. There is also the frustration that probably, on the balance of play, we were the better team today. However, they took their two moments.”

Neilson stressed that there are still positives to take from Hearts’ display. “It's encouraging. That’s where we want to get to. We want to be a club that is round about that level [of Rangers and Celtic] and I think we have players who can do that. For us, that’s the next step,” he said.

“We beat Celtic here and got a draw at Ibrox. In the last two games against them we haven’t picked up the points our performance merited.

“We need to score goals. It sounds daft but that’s what it is. You have days when you take chances and days when you don’t. Today we didn’t. The pleasing thing is we are created a lot of really good chances against good teams.

“It’s not belief. If there was no belief you wouldn’t create chances. We passed the ball well, got into good areas, it’s just that final moment. McGregor was in inspired form.”

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